Stop this dense development

Kudos to the El Paso County Planning Commission for standing up to Jeff Smith and Classic Homes in the Jaynes Property preliminary plan (Gazette article by Brooke Nevins, Feb. 17). Smith is trying to change the nature of Black Forest from rural to urban. With Flying Horse North and Jaynes Property developments he wants to build houses on lots that are less than an acre when the County Master Plan requires 2 ½ acre lots.

Unfortunately in 2021, the county commissioners approved a new Master Plan that allows 2½-acre lots when the previous Master Plan required 5-acre lots. But, developers don’t follow the rules when it comes to profit. Smith in the Flying Horse North development even wants to build a commercial hotel in the Forest and that is not allowed by the Master Plan.

Both developments would use well water that would deplete the aquifers that Black Forest residents depend on. The city just passed a requirement that developers have 128% of the water required for their developments. That will mean that developments in the county will increasing tap into the aquifers for their developments. We are in a 22-year drought and the aquifers are being depleted. What happens to current well owners when the aquifers are depleted? The county commissioners will have to step up to stop this dense development.

Bruce Brian

Colorado Springs

New GOP an extreme movement

I was formerly a bonus member in the El Paso County GOP. I was also the vice chair of House District 14 for the GOP. I was recently voted out of my two positions, mainly due to the recent surge in a GOP “anti-establishment” movement. These are my comments on the latest GOP reorganization based on my observations over the last few years.

Is the establishment a bad thing? To most people, the establishment is any group that values the long-standing traditions that were successful in the past. Another word for those beliefs is “conservative.” The new GOP leaders have attacked me (among others) for being part of the establishment.

Who leads the anti-establishment GOP? Vickie Tonkins has been reelected as the GOP chair for El Paso County. Even though that role has traditional duties, she has declared herself free of those burdens. She has her agenda and candidates. She can even attack other Republicans at will. She has this power because she has recruited enough followers who agree with her anti-establishment agenda.

She is a charismatic leader. She gets people to loudly cheer her every spoken word. But is her movement a cult? One dictionary says that a cult is a small religious group (not part of a more accepted religion) that has beliefs regarded by many as extreme. You can also substitute the word “political” for “religious.” Another dictionary says, “A cult is an enthusiastic devotion to a person, idea or thing.”

Her agenda included two stated goals: to drive out the establishment and to unite the party. If she drives out the establishment, won’t the new party become a smaller group? But there is a bigger problem. The Democrats and unaffiliated vastly outnumber the GOP in Colorado. Even in conservative El Paso County, the unaffiliated are 48% of the registered voters. To defeat the new GOP, the Democrats only need to make one obvious point: Tonkins and her followers are part of an extreme movement that exists well outside the traditional Republican Party.

Russell McPadden

Colorado Springs

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Making using restrooms difficult

Re: Gender-neutral restrooms. My first thought when I read the article was stupid! A bathroom is a bathroom plain and simple. Just how many people regardless of their preference will use these restrooms.

I had a gay brother, and I promise you he and his partner would have never use this restroom. When he finally came out we talked about the misconceptions of being gay. What confused us both was that some people think this is a chosen lifestyle. He said, “Why would I choose a lifestyle that is hated and feared in some crowds and that could cause me to be beaten to death.”

What makes Rep. Karen McCormack think that these restrooms will be used? At my age (72), I don’t care what people think but other people do and the minute you step into a gender neutral restroom you will be labeled, regardless of your preferences. The LGBTQ+ group face so many obstacles and prejudices why would they want or need another one. Younger people have difficulty being accepted for who they are. How many of them will use these restrooms?

Instead of gender neutral restrooms, make all public restrooms unisex. Some places are doing this. Make using a restroom easier not more difficult.

Pam Devereux

Colorado Springs

Perserve parks and open spaces

I have always admired the city forefathers and the job they did in preserving the character and beauty of the city by setting aside spaces for greenways, parks and open spaces for the public to enjoy. These spaces have become increasingly important to the average citizen as the city has grown and expanded. Being able to get out and enjoy nature without having traffic rushing past and not having to drive out of the city to do it values the citizens’ time, finances and health.

Three of the jewels in the system where you can be away from automobile traffic that are heavily used for biking, hiking, and running are the Pikes Peak Greenway Trail, The Rock Island Trail (especially going West from Templeton gap), and the Cottonwood Creek Trail. What makes these trails special is that they are not next to automobile traffic and the resultant air pollution, vehicular hazards, and noise.

Connecting the Rock Island trail to the Pikes Peak Greenway trail would enhance the vision and charm of Colorado Springs as being a great place to work, raise a family, and play. Extending Constitution Avenue would detract from the cities open spaces, further limit greenways available for biking, hiking and running, and limit non vehicular commuting. Please join me in opposing extending Constitution Avenue. Lets preserve the parks and open spaces for the citizens of our community so they can enjoy spaces away from traffic.

Steven Markel

Colorado Springs


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